We’ve seen huge capacities from 2.5in notebook drives before – up to 1 terabyte (TB) for commercially available drives, while Seagate has a 1.5TB drive is sells as an external drive only. But the Western Digital Scorpio Blue 1TB (WD10JPVT) is one of the first to put all that storage capacity into a industry-standard 9.5mm drive chassis.

Until recently, you could have capacity up to 750GB in a standard 9.5mm thickness notebook drive. A notable example is the speedy WD Scorpio Black 750GB we recently reviewed.

Or you could find 1 terabyte (TB) capacity drive, but only in the thicker 12.5mm case which will not fit inside most laptops. WD itself has just such a drive, distinguished by a different part number of WD10TPVT.

Toshiba was probably the first company to make such a fat 1TB drive, the Toshiba MK1059GSM, which in our tests proved capable of peak sequential read/write performance of around 99MBytes/sec.

In the WD Scorpio Blue 1TB, Western Digital has not only slimmed the drive, but made it faster too. And quieter.

Cool and quiet

Western Digital knows the importance of making notebook drives quiet and power efficient. Its own specifications quote just 22dBA when idle and a 25dBA average acoustic noise level for seek operations. And in use with a bare drive on the lab bench, this drive was barely audible at all. It should be effectively silent once mounted inside a notebook computer.

Power requirements we couldn’t test, but the specs list just 1.4W for read/write operation, 0.59W in idle, and 0.18W in standby.

Compare these figures to older Scorpio Blue drives such as the 320GB model, whose power requirements are approaching double in some states: 2.5W read/write, 0.85W idle and 0.2W standby. For the newer drive, this all translates into longer battery life for any laptop.

Capacity of the WD Scorpio Blue 1TB is indisputably huge at 1000GB. But what about its performance?

Performance

In the simple ATTO Bench 32 drag race, which shows peak sequential transfer speeds, we saw a maximum read speed of 115MB/s (with 256kB data), and maximum write speed 116MB/s (for 512kB data).

Those best-case results are on an empty drive – HD Tune Pro gives a fuller picture by graphing performance over the entire radius of the disks.

Here we saw a maximum read speed of 110MB/s, falling to a 53MB/s minimum at the disk centre. Averaged across the disk, that translates to an overall average read of 85MB/s. That puts it ahead of the Toshiba 1TB drive’s 74MB/s, but behind WD’s own Scorpio Black 750GB which averaged 99MB/s here.

Writing data instead in the HD Tune Pro test, the Scorpio Blue 1TB gave identical figures to the read test.

In the CrystalDiskMark 3.0 test we were able to see how the drive performed with smaller data sets. Against the Toshiba 1TB, the WD 1TB had slower 512kB reads but much faster writes: 25 vs 32MB/s reads, and 65 vs 38MB/s writes. The 4kB test also highlighted faster performance on the WD (0.54 vs 0.40MB/s reads, and 1.21 vs 0.93MB/s writes).

The 4k QD32 test magnified these differences. For the WD, results were 1.32 and 1.44MB/s, against the Toshiba’s 0.70 and 0.97MB/s, for read and write speeds respectively.

Roll up, roll out

Samsung does not make its hard drives available for review in the UK, although we understand it also has a similarly sized 1TB notebook SATA drive. With 1TB notebook drives now available in 9.5mm form factor from two different manufacturers, expect to see such drives installed in top-tier laptop computers, now that dual inventory can be assured to safeguard commercial OEM use.

Western Digital Scorpio Blue 1TB: Specs

  • 1TB hard disk
  • 2.5in notebook drive
  • 5400rpm
  • 3Gbit/s SATA
  • 8MB cache
  • 22dBA (idle) 25dBA (seek) acoustic noise
  • 1.4W (read/write) power consumption
  • 100 x 70 x 9.5mm
  • 110g
  • 1TB hard disk
  • 2.5in notebook drive
  • 5400rpm
  • 3Gbit/s SATA
  • 8MB cache
  • 22dBA (idle) 25dBA (seek) acoustic noise
  • 1.4W (read/write) power consumption
  • 100 x 70 x 9.5mm
  • 110g

OUR VERDICT

Western Digital has pulled off something of a coup d’état in the WD Scorpio Blue 1TB. Not only is it quieter and more efficient than its predecessors, it also benefits from better performance almost universally across the board. Until the competition can show us something better, we must highlight the WD Scorpio Blue as the best notebook hard drive available in the 1 terabyte category.

Find the best price